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SXSW Shows Miami Still Lagging Behind When it Comes to Innovation

March 23, 2011 By Matt Meltzer in Miami: Local NewsTechnology  | 35 Comments

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Photos by Carlos Miller

Social Media may be incredibly overrated. I’m not sure. I’m not sure it’s the “game changing” innovation of the 2010s that many made it out to be last week in Texas. And to be perfectly honest, I kind of hope it’s not; I like meeting people in person. But if it is, and if blogging and tweeting and foursquaring and whatever else are the wave of our social and corporate future, Miami is staring at the distant ass of the power curve.

CONTRIBUTING THE PARTY

This was painfully evident to me last week at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. There were literally hundreds upon hundreds of panels with “experts” and “innovators” from all over the world. It seemed that every city you could imagine was represented. But not Miami. Aside from a panel – which was part of the Film portion, I might add – featuring Rakontur’s Billy Corben, not a single South Florida attendee was featured as a speaker. Sure, we had people AT the conference, but nobody there who had anything to share.

In true South Florida fashion, we did have some parties, though. Lincoln Road’s Sapient Nitro, an international advertising firm, threw the largest party of the conference’s opening night. Large until an amplifier caught on fire, that is. And the Greater Miami CVB threw an excellent party on the final Monday, followed by an equally-bithin’ party by the Florida Film Commission. But you know what? Everyone knows Miami knows how to party. But can we do anything else?

This needs to change. Next year, we need some people from Miami to step up and represent the city to the world. People to say, “Hey, people in South Florida can actually get things done. When we want to.” We do have some success stories here. But from what I could tell at South by Southwest, we had parties and movies to offer the world. And not much in the way of technology and innovation.

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MAYBE THIS IS WHY THE EDUCATED LEAVE

Now, there are certainly some advantages to being behind the technology power curve. It cuts back on the tech geeks, for one. And it keeps the girl/guy ratio here in my favor. And really, Miami’s role in the giant family that is U.S. cities is not the smart, creative brother. We’re the crazy, slutty, perpetually-in-rehab sister. But if people are going to argue with me about Miami being a major and important city, we have to be able to show more substantial innovations than efficient ways to cut cocaine. And I don’t see this happening any time soon.

Maybe this is why our job market is so poor. And maybe this is why so many of our young, talented residents leave to other cities to improve their careers.  We have two major universities in our city and still can’t keep our local talent. What does that say about the relative creativity of our region?

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If we’re going to try and be this major player, this important world metropolis, we’re going to need to start innovating and get a little more creative. Otherwise we are going to remain in our role as the Charlie Sheen of American cities. A ton of fun and highly entertaining, but nobody’s taking us seriously.

Related Categories: Miami: Local News, Technology,

About the Author: Matt Meltzer is a featured columnist at Miami Beach 411.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer

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35 Comments on

"SXSW Shows Miami Still Lagging Behind When it Comes to Innovation"

Gbunny says:

I would think a lot of people on this site are qualified to be speakers.

Posted on 03/26/2011 at 9:44 AM

Matt Meltzer says:

Way to read between the lines, there, Ginger.

Posted on 03/27/2011 at 6:32 PM

Maria de los Angeles says:

Matt, you know I respect you immensely but how can you write about South Florida Tech and social media without being part of that world? A lot of innovative stuff is happening here. You need to get your ass to Refresh Miami, Refresh Fort Lauderdale, BarCamp, Startup Forum and Social Media Club meetups, to name a few, if you are going to pen anything about this topic. I have been covering this scene for over five years and I am utterly appalled at what you are writing here. It makes it look like Miami Beach 411 is a total ignoramus even though it has one of the most successful online communities in South Florida, and yes, that’s technology and social media, too.  I live, breathe and eat this world every week, connecting with people here who are doing great things to make Miami a progressive tech and social media hub on the east coast.  This post embarrasses me.

I’m not asking you to be a fan of social media, but it’s painfully obvious to me that you don’t practice it or “get it” because you wouldn’t be writing this if you had been familiar with the movement, trust me.

I know for a fact that Imaneed was there, not to mention dozens of local geeks, many of whom have presented in previous years.  Last year, Brian Breslin and Davide DiCillo, both local developers, did a panel last year on how to develop a tech community outside of Silicon Valley. In 2009, Alex Carvahlo spoke on a panel entitled “Digital Tsunami.”

Also, why did you not write about the Miami SXSW Startup Bus?  A bunch of geeks, many from Florida, did it this year.  They held a pitch event at SXSW, competing with other cities. Did you know Tampa is pretty strong on developers, too? No, I guess you didn’t.

Miami-based Seth Elliott was representing Hashable, a new networking web and mobile app that made its official launch at SXSW this year.  Denise Jacobs, a web designer who has authored books on CSS, was also there.  Alex Carvalho, who currently runs a social network for doctors, was there.  Chris Heuer, co-founder of Social Media Club, was raised in Miami.  I could go on and on ...

How was it you glossed over Gaping Void? One of the biggest social media geeks on the planet? He was there. He’s pretty much a full-time Miami resident now and has been a part-time Miami geek for years.

You also forgot to mention how panels get picked.  Many local geeks submit panel proposals. It’s all done by vote and just because they don’t get a panel, doesn’t mean the intention isn’t there.

Were you following fellow Miamians on Twitter? Foursquare? Get with the program, Matt.

I’m sorry Matt, but your article really does a disservice to the local tech and social media community. We may not be Silicon Valley, but we are certainly not lacking in innovation. Just because you didn’t see it at SXSW doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. And also, if you were busy going to parties and just focusing on film, I doubt you really came across the right social media and tech people. Do your research.

... the Silicone Bitch has spoken!

Posted on 03/28/2011 at 11:45 AM

Brian Breslin says:

I’ll expand on Maria’s comment a bit. The submissions for 2011 took place over summer 2010. Its largely a popularity contest to get your panel approved. There were quite a few panels from south floridians submitted, but not enough local support to get them over the first threshold before the judges thin the popular group down. I’m fairly certain there were a few local speakers at this year’s event. There were 7 topics from AgencyNet employees, at least 1 was chosen I believe (not sure though, I skipped this year). I believe there were 10,000+ topics submitted and 2500 speakers selected for the 1000+ panels on the interactive portion alone.

Posted on 03/28/2011 at 12:08 PM

Alex de Carvalho says:

Right on, Maria.

Matt, as nice as it was to see you in Austin, and at our pre-SXSW party in Miami attended by over 100 people, most of whom are SMCSF members, I think you missed the mark. Our tech community has its own history, nationally recognized personalities, landmark events, and startup successes. You’d have to do some research to find it all out, and I’m sorry you didn’t take the time.

I have otherwise enjoyed your posts here—although I have never commented—but you lost a notch of credibility in my eyes.

And yes, we could be better and no, we aren’t silicon valley or New York ... but we are trying damn hard to get there. With some effort, you’ll find some geeks ... and some real smart and resourceful ones at that.

Posted on 03/28/2011 at 7:46 PM

Auston Bunsen says:

I don’t think I need to say anything else… these guys covered it all.

Here is a little something to get you started:

1. http://miamitechevents.com
2. http://startupdigest.com
3. http://gossipreneur.com
4. http://refreshmiami.com
5. http://whitetablefoundation.com
6. http://thecollidefactory.com

Hopefully you will check out some of these sites & make an effort.

Posted on 03/28/2011 at 8:13 PM

Marc Kaplan says:

As the community manager for @StartupBusMiami, we worked our butts off to launch startupbusmiami.com and to get the teams ready for startupbus.com.  Thanks Maria for the Props.  She’s said more than I ever could.  @sflsocialgeeks out….

Posted on 03/28/2011 at 9:51 PM

Gus says:

@Matt Melltzer I think it’s naive to say, because there were no South Florida panelists, means there is no technology and innovation taking place here.

You say,

If we’re going to try and be this major player, this important world metropolis, we’re going to need to start innovating and get a little more creative.”

I believe other things will define Miami as an “important metropolis”, besides being where the next “killer app” will be developed. Namely all the highway construction projects, the Ballpark, and the Tunnel.

I think I know where you were trying to take this. We appreciate your enthusiasm, and in no way has this silly post caused you to lose any creditability, or made us look like an ignoramus, in my opinion.

@Gbunny, thanks for believing in us.

@Maria de los Angeles, what did Matt say that got you so riled up?  He’s not dissing Miami’s tech community. All he’s saying is, we need to continue to support creativity and innovation, and not lose sight of meeting face-to-face.

From what I see, if you read between the lines, this was Matt’s way of trying to rally some people together and speak at SXSW, next year.

While we were at the conference, Matt and Carlos pitched me an idea for us all (you included) to organize a panel for 2012, but I shot it down because I felt SXSW was not the right venue for what we have to share.

As far a covering this year’s SXSW event, you lost a notch of credibility in my eyes for not mentioning Carlos’ story in your roundup at Sex and the Beach. You go on and on about how well you cover the scene, but you let a misunderstanding with me get in the way of you even mentioning the story at Miami Beach 411, which Carlos put a ton of work into. It’s hard to not take a swipe like that to heart. I enjoy working with you and hope we can get back on track.

@Brian Breslin thank you for telling us about the selection process. I look forward to meeting you. =)

@Alex de Carvalho hate to say it, but you lost a little credibility in my eyes. You scold Matt for not doing more research, but he was at the conference the entire time, and naive as it may be, this was how he saw our tech community represented. And what’s with you showing up to the conference on the last night? wink

@Auston Bunsen I’m not sure what you mean by “these guys covered it all”. None of the sites you link to have any local coverage of SXSW, or mention Carlos’ post, which means you all lost some credibility in my eyes. wink

@Marc Kaplan no props for using the startupbus logo in the first picture of this post?.. You lose credibility for failing to mention that. wink

Posted on 03/29/2011 at 4:28 AM

Michelle says:

Matt, I read your post and didn’t even see it as controversial - it’s funny how others perceive things.

Maria and Brian, Matt said there were lots of South Floridians THERE, just not as featured speakers. And Brian, you just backed up what Matt was saying here:

There were quite a few panels from south floridians submitted, but not enough local support to get them over the first threshold before the judges thin the popular group down. I’m fairly certain there were a few local speakers at this year’s event.”

Miami is known for it’s parties, and how ironic there were 3 parties hosted by Miami organizations.

Anyway, I think you guys are all taking this too seriously. We all know there is social media and techie things happening here, but we also know that Miami is a bit…different. If anyone needs me to explain what I mean, let me know.

Let’s all make up and call this a creative discussion - no hard feelings smile

Posted on 03/29/2011 at 8:45 AM

Maria de los Angeles says:

There are no hard feelings, Michelle. But here’s the thing, no, we cannot assume that “everyone knows” anything about social media and tech in Florida, especially the 411 audience. We don’t specialize in that kind of topic and there is a large learning curve for our audience.

Miami Beach 411 is supposed to be a publication that informs people about Miami and Matt’s post did not fairly represent reality here.  The editorial was lacking the full spectrum. Anyone in the industry of tech and social media who reads this would react just like me. It has to be taken seriously because we make a living out of it.  A responsible journalist tries to get the bigger picture before publishing.  Had this been a simple opinion post about Matt’s first time there, that would’ve been cool with me. But he’s making blanket statements without fact checking or inquiring.

Of the three parties thrown, the only one by a social media agency was Sapient’s.

Again, no hard feelings. I just wanted to make sure that the other half of the glass was filled here with information that was missing in the article.

Posted on 03/29/2011 at 9:08 AM

Auston Bunsen says:

@Gus,

“I’m not sure what you mean by “these guys covered it all”. None of the sites you link to have any local coverage of SXSW, or mention Carlos’ post, which means you all lost some credibility in my eyes.”

I do not know which Carlos you are referring to?

Additionally, the sites were pointing Matt to resources / events in our community where he can see / find innovation. Mostly because he drizzled a lot of snark like this through the post:

“And not much in the way of technology and innovation.” <—stormpulse.com, devstructure.com, appush.com, mysyncpad.com, carecloud.com - all innovative, technology companies

“We’re the crazy, slutty, perpetually-in-rehab sister.” <—- really?

“...we have to be able to show more substantial innovations than efficient ways to cut cocaine.” <—- again, really?

“Maybe this is why our job market is so poor.” <—- poor for who? not developers… http://www.indeed.com/jobs?q=web+developer&l=Miami,+FL there are over 1000 jobs in those results alone, not counting craigslist!

Those are all hyperbole. The thing is, credibility is purely subjective - so all I can do is respect your opinion & try to show you my POV.

Posted on 03/29/2011 at 10:25 AM

Alex de Carvalho says:

@Gus

Matt was at the conference, but he’s also talking about innovation in South Florida—which is where his post is poorly researched and Auston sums up pretty well why Matt’s snark is misplaced and why hyperbole and sensationalist phrases detracts from credibility.

Regarding our representation in Austin, this is precisely *what* we tried to do and what we’ll try to do better next time. Organizing that pre-party in Miami *with* SXSW (and with SMCSF) was a major ordeal because of all kinds of branding considerations and restrictions by SXSW. We still managed to pull it off and brought over 100 people to that party, half of which went to Austin later. This made it one of the bigger pre-SXSW partied in the nation! Oh, and by the way, Matt was there ... did he mention that in his post? I guess he didn’t know what it took to make that happen, did he, or even that we had the initiative to do so.

We also considered hosting a Miami tech happy hour in Austin, but that’s more complicated to do ... as Florida Film can probably attest to. As you saw, there are hundreds of happy hours and parties, and all the venues are booked months in advance. It also involves sponsorship and sponsors need to be vetted by SXSW. Venues won’t book your event unless they get clearance from SXSW.

It’s touching to know you keep tabs on my arrival and departure. So you think I showed up on the last night because that’s when you saw me? Since you take such interest in my comings and going, let me say that I actually arrived on Sunday and left on Wednesday. Do you want to see my travel tickets? By the way, I travel standby (my trip was not paid for) and got bumped from five planes on Saturday because of the start of Spring Break. I was lucky to be able to travel on Sunday. Besides, this is my 5th straight year at SXSW ... so what exactly is your point? Why would I even bother to arrive on the last night, anyway? I don’t understand why you even brought that up.

By the way, Gus, remember too that MB411’s travel to Austin started from a conversation I had with Carlos last year, where I urged him to attend SXSW. You’re welcome.

Posted on 03/29/2011 at 1:11 PM

Carlos Miller says:

If Matt doesn’t jump in here and respond to these comments, he’s going to lose credibility in my eyes. wink

Posted on 03/29/2011 at 1:26 PM

Maria de los Angeles says:

Replying to @Gus

My issue with this post is that it was one-sided and made a statement about the Miami social media and tech scene without including additional angles.  I don’t think articles of a journalistic nature covering an event should be about reading “between the lines” ...  leave that to more creative prose pieces where ambiguity is ok.  If I were an editor, I would have pointed that out to him and asked him to research more before publishing.  But I don’t have an editor role here, so I’ll rest my case.

As for me not linking to Carlos’ post, I don’t think I had seen it yet when I wrote it my regular roundup. There is so much going on, I sometimes write stuff before hand and schedule it for publishing later. I do not subscribe to feeds, believe it or not. I read stuff when I can. In any case, I have it scheduled for my next edition of Silicone Bitch and also, I need to make some space for his Social Media Puto thing, among all the other things I have to cover.

I’m not sure about what you mean “meeting face-to-face” ... geeks do that all the time here.

I also enjoy working with you, Gus.  And you know that I champion, promote and invest time and energy into this site every single day. It’s because I care about it so much that I have expressed my disagreement here on this particular post. I do hope we can get back on track as well, and if we have to agree to disagree on this particular post, I’m cool with that. I may not be happy with this particular post, but that doesn’t change how I feel about you, Michelle and all the other contributors here, nor does it take away from the gratitude I have to be part of this site. My issue is with this post, nothing more. I have never, in all my years here, ever expressed a disagreement on any other post.

I am glad I posted my view because at least it brought out some discussion that would have otherwise remained obscured. I think it would have been worse if I had not brought up anything at all. And I am grateful that some of the geeks are contributing to the comments here.  At least it is more well-rounded now and more voices are being heard.

I think this could all have a much happier ending with bringing two different worlds together for greater understanding. I would love to see Matt more involved if that’s something that interests him in the future and I (and I’m sure I speak for others) would be more than happy to welcome him to everything and all that we do.  And the geeks also need to wake up and reach out to other communities if they want their work and effort to be known outside of that world, which can, like any field, be rather closed in terms of outreach.

Posted on 03/29/2011 at 3:03 PM

Gus says:

Austin, thank you for sharing your views. I like how you describe where you’re coming from. I was being sarcastic, but obviously my smileys were not enough. I apologize if I offended anyone.

I was referring to Carlos Miller’s article at Miami Beach 411 titled “What We Learned at SXSW: Content & Networking Is King!”

I’m not familiar with the tech companies you mention, but what makes stormpulse.com, devstructure.com, appush.com, mysyncpad.com, and carecloud.com any more innovative than the thousands of other developers, outside South Florida.  <——I don’t mean any disrespect. If they’re doing cool stuff, we’d like to share it with our readers.

I checked out the developer jobs at ineed.com - many of the job listings look fake to me. <——Again, no disrespect. It’s just that we get a tons of readers who are planning to move here, and it’s important that we not mislead them.

BTW, it’s fun to write with arrows! <——Thanks for showing me how to do that.

Alex, I can’t remember for sure, but I think I saw a Tweet by you, announcing that you landed in Austin, close to the end of the Interactive conference. Since most of the attendees had already arrived, I was wondering what’s up, that’s all. It was cool to talk with you at the mixer. I did say thank you for suggesting we attend, and made a special trip back to the convention center to thank you, again.

Maria, I appreciate you saying that, and am happy this discussion is taking place. I’ll call you tomorrow at 11:00 AM and we can talk more.

If anyone wants to post a link and description to a local company working on an innovative project, please tell us about them in the comments below——>

Posted on 03/29/2011 at 6:09 PM

Matt Meltzer says:

Aight, I was gonna steer clear, but Carlos called me out, and I can’t resist a good debate.

Have ANY of you been following my writing career in Miami? Have you EVER known me to get both sides of a story and try and report it objectively? Hell the fuck no I don’t. That’s why I’m entertaining. Like so many Fox News pundits and Rush Limbaugh, I don’t bother with things like “facts” and “reality” when cleverly stating my opinions. I just state them so as to entertain/infuriate/amuse. And, hey, look at that, seems that worked. Again.

Beyond that though, let me axe you guys who are so quick to defend Miami as some sort of creative/innovative Mecca….

Name me ONE (1) significant technological or cultural innovation that has come out of this place? No, reggaeton and Burger King don’t count.

Name ONE (1) person who has contributed majorly to American culture that has come out of here in the last ten years. Sports does not count. And if your answer is “Pitbull” I’m just going to laugh at you.

Name ONE (1) major corporation that is innovative/creative that has its roots in Miami other than Crispin Porter.

And finally, please explain to me why sooooo many creative, talented people find it necessary to LEAVE Miami to find better jobs. Nobody seems to be able to answer that one either.

Point is, guys, Miami does some things well. We party well. We tan well. We fucking look good. But when you wanna talk about creativity and innovation, we’re not even on the radar. You can list me all these companies that you think so some kind of “creative” work or whatever, but at the end of the day I haven’t heard of a goddam one of them. Which means most people in this country haven’t either. Look at the big picture. Perception is reality. And Miami’s perception is of a hot, fun, crazy city where nobdoy does anytihng all that serious. Be proud…..

Posted on 03/29/2011 at 6:51 PM

Seth Elliott says:

I’ve tried to stay out of the fray on this thread, mostly because I think my perspective is likely obvious (as co-Founder of The Startup Forum, Curator of the Startup Digest Miami, booster of most of the tech and SM community groups and friends with many of the commentators). I’m only going to address one point.

@Gus I know that blog comments are rife with misinterpretation, but I’m a bit bewildered by your responses, in particular

“what makes stormpulse.com, devstructure.com, appush.com, mysyncpad.com, and carecloud.com any more innovative than the thousands of other developers, outside South Florida.  <——I don’t mean any disrespect. If they’re doing cool stuff, we’d like to share it with our readers.” and “If anyone wants to post a link and description to a local company working on an innovative project, please tell us about them in the comments below——>”

Let’s take one example only Stormpulse.com. This is a “home-grown,” unquestionably innovative enterprise. To my knowledge (which I will confidently assert is rather extensive) there is actually no other growth stage technology firm addressing this market. Additionally, the company presented at Refresh Miami on March 24 (hmmm - a community tech group meetup).

If MB411 is a site that desires to be known as informative and replete with journalistic integrity (admittedly, I’m making an assumption), it would seem to me that it is incumbent upon your organization to engage in some active investigation of these issues, rather than simply asking for “anyone” to “post a link and description to a local company working on an innovative project” (on the other hand, I do recognize that much of MB411 content is user generated, so perhaps I’m laboring under a misapprehension in regards to the core intent and philosophy of the site, in which case I understand how you might find my commentary irrelevant).

One final aside - clearly Maria’s response to Matt’s post generated a host of support and back an forth commentary - controversy “sells” - in this case, however, it seems the comments were the “seller” rather than the original post. I find that intriguing.

Cheers!

Posted on 03/29/2011 at 6:57 PM

Alex de Carvalho says:

@Matt So you yourself admit we shouldn’t take you seriously or credibly, since you compare your style to Rush Limbaugh’s. (Good luck with that, by the way.) From the tone of your post and the rant in your comment, you might as well have written the Encyclopedia Dramatica entry for Miami.

It’s not your readers’ role to educate you on Miami’s contribution to modern culture or business (it is a young city, after all, so don’t look for Shakespeare here). Just look Miami up on Wikipedia, if you can be bothered. And it’s not your readers’ fault if you don’t recognize any of those “g—damn” names listed. Look them up too.

But what’s puzzling is that you talk about the lack of tech innovation in your post and then put out a call for names in cultural innovation? That’s inconsistent. Then again, maybe you aim to obfuscate.

In tech, though, we can point to Citrix, Alienware, Terremark, Cordis, e-Builder, Univision Interactive Media, SportsLine, and eDiets. With the exception of the last three, these are Fortune 500 firms. Cordis is a Fortune 50. Haven’t heard of these companies? That’s not my fault. Look them up.

There are hundreds of smaller innovative tech companies, but you wouldn’t have heard of those, so why bother listing them here, right? LinkedIn lists over a thousand of them. (How can you have -1 connection on LinkedIn, by the way? I’ve never seen that.)

Blake Ross of Firefox grew up in Miami and started working in Netscape and on the browser while he was here. The problem of arguing with a cynic is you’ll say he’s an example of someone who left. Fine. Jeff Bezos grew up here as well. He left, too. Multiply is in Boca, so maybe you won’t count that as South Florida. Fine.

Be that as it may, we’re not as bass-ackward as your opinionated reporting would make us out to be ... but then again, everything is relative and “better” is the enemy of “good,” right?

Since you say perception is reality, you can go back to tanning and partying now, since it seems that’s what you moved here for. As Herman Hesse said, “There’s no reality except the one contained within us. That’s why so many people live an unreal life. They take images outside them for reality and never allow the world within them to assert itself.”

Posted on 03/29/2011 at 10:13 PM

Gus says:

Seth, thanks for jumping in. I asked that question because I’d never heard of the companies Austin mentioned. I figured since this discussion is about innovative Miami companies (or the lack thereof), and no particular companies had been discussed, we should start a list, and then ask Matt or Maria to go back an write a featured story about some of them.

Thanks to, Alex, for getting us started.

And thank you for telling us about Stormpulse. com, although I was a little confused by your description. In short, they send text messages to your phone with weather updates. One thing I noticed on their site is, the “contact us” page says they’re located in Jupiter, FL, which could disqualify them to be considered as a local company.

I also spent some time out your site, startupforum.net. If TSF desires to fos­ter the devel­op­ment of regional startup com­mu­ni­ties, as your “about us” pages claims, it would seem to me that it is incumbent upon your organization to update your website more often. Your last blog post was on Jan 30 and your “Jobs” page is still “under construction”... I don’t say this to be snarky, but I feel your site’s lack of current information sends a message to what we are discussing now.

As for MB411, we desire to inform and entertain, in that order. To say we don’t do our research is untrue. We paid for tickets to SXSW. We attended the full conference, and this was our experience.

I could tell you a story about how every attendee I met was either a new web developer, social media geek, or PR person, and how overwhelmed I felt by that, wondering how all of these entrepreneurs were paying the bills, but that is just background information that lead me to want to publish Matt’s story.

Everybody has a friend who can make a website.

The subject of this post is finding real creativity and innovation. So far, Stormpulse.com is on the list, as long as they’re in Miami-Dade, or Broward.

Posted on 03/30/2011 at 6:04 AM

Seth Elliott says:

@Gus

Thanks for your response.

1.  Your comments about our site are undoubtedly true. As a community organization that does not seek to generate a profit in any way from it’s activities, The Startup Forum is often in need of additional resources. Since Alex and I offer this on a volunteer basis as a “labor of love,” there is no question that we could update our site in which we provide free information to the public - it’s simply a matter of time and resources. I’m sure the audience 250+ individuals that attended our last event (which was profiled in the Miami Herald and South Florida Business Journal) could have been even larger if Alex or I had the extra time to meet our “claims” of fostering regional startup communities by adding blogging and job postings to the extensive offerings that TSF has provided the community over the last year.

2.  “To say we don’t do our research is untrue. We paid for tickets to SXSW. We attended the full conference, and this was our experience. ” I’m not sure if I was unclear in my commentary about research or if this is a disingenuous comment. My references were to comments made by you - recapitulated again “what makes stormpulse.com, devstructure.com, appush.com, mysyncpad.com, and carecloud.com any more innovative than the thousands of other developers, outside South Florida.  <——I don’t mean any disrespect. If they’re doing cool stuff, we’d like to share it with our readers.” and “If anyone wants to post a link and description to a local company working on an innovative project, please tell us about them in the comments below——>” I won’t repeat my entire comment, but the thrust of that component had nothing to do with whether you “researched” by paying for and attending the full SXSW.

3.  Finally, I understand a bit more now - Stormpulse is a bad example because it doesn’t exist in Miami-Dade or Broward counties - it is in Palm Beach county. For me (and The Startup Forum), South FL includes all 3 counties - but I can accept that Palm Beach County is unimportant to MB411 and this discussion - it certainly helps to frame the parameters so we are all clear what we are addressing.

Posted on 03/30/2011 at 6:36 AM

Gus says:

Seth, I like your sense of humor.

Yes, Palm Beach, Jupiter, New Jersey - it’s all the same to me.

I’m not saying you and Alex aren’t great at organizing conferences and meetups, but looking at your website, you’d think the scene is dead.

If we’re welcome, Matt, Carlos and I would like to attend your next event, just as long as it’s held in the agreed upon districts. =)

Posted on 03/30/2011 at 7:37 AM

Seth Elliott says:

@Gus

Right back at ya.

And of course you are welcome to attend our next (or any future) events - indeed, Carlos has been to several events held by The Startup Forum (not to mention the many other community groups focused on tech throughout South Fl - errr - Miami and Broward counties).

Our next event is on April 25 - here are the details http://pitchperfect425.eventbrite.com (don’t know your policies on urls on your site/in comments so I’ll understand if you need to remove that).

Separately, given that a piece of the MB411 mission is to provide information to prospective immigrants, seems like it would be wise for you to have a section that profiles the various community groups and initiatives in this area . . .. (not to mention key data e.g., in 2009 Miami-Lauderdale ranked 2nd in the US for metro areas in regards to per capital entrepreneurial formation [610 new businesses for every 100,000 people] and FIU has the 6th largest computer science program in the United States).

Posted on 03/30/2011 at 7:49 AM

Gus says:

Thank you, Seth. Interesting stat about FIU.

This week, we’ll add a new category in our events calender for all your events.

Look forward to meeting you. =)

Posted on 03/30/2011 at 7:56 AM

Laurie says:

Pitch Perfect has been added to the MB411 Event Calendar here.

@Seth, what’s the best way to receive notification of future events so they can be included?

Posted on 03/30/2011 at 10:47 PM

Matt Meltzer says:

Wow, -1 connections. That’s fucking awesome. Like maybe somebody blocked me before I could even set up a profile, I don’t know…

I was speaking more to the big picture there, Alex. Going back to the argument I got in with some readers about Miami’s size and relevance to the Unites States. And the point is a lot of people try and put it in the league of the major players in the US, but there’s really no category where it can compare. And again, if Miami is this innovative, tech-savvy, cutting edge community, why’s the job market so f-ing bad? Why do most UM grads who aren’t from the area (and even some who are) find it neccesary to go elsewhere to pursue their careers? It ain’t the weather.

These are questions nobody seems to be able to answer. You can sit here and list companies all day but until Miami becomes the sort of place that creative, innovative talent decides to stay - much less relocate to - it’s tough to argue that this is much more than a Sun Belt Financial Center with a nice beach.

I will say this, though, Alex. This is the most intelligent conversation I’ve had with a relative stranger in Miami perhaps ever. So thank you for being the exception to the rule.

Posted on 03/31/2011 at 10:58 PM

Carlos Miller says:

Here’s an article that just came out titled “Florida struggles with tech success.”

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2MoKc7/www.huffingtonpost.com/shawna-vercher/florida-struggles-with-te_b_854990.html

Posted on 04/29/2011 at 10:20 AM

Alex de Carvalho says:

@Matt—Thanks, I’m just catching your comment now, I didn’t see the email notification earlier.

This is a question of whether you see the glass as half-full or half-empty (or even one-quarter full or three-quarters empty). People see what they want to see and then they act according to their perceptions to further skew reality to match their perception. So people on one end of this scale, the half-emptiers, just whine about the lack of this and that (ie, no creative agencies, etc.). People on the other end, the half-fullers, are saying: “there is this developing tech community, and over there we have talent, and look at some of the things the government is doing, and hey, there’s a new tech conference coming up, etc.” These half-fullers draw energy and inspiration from this and build a new reality for the region. Yes, Miami is better known for tourism and trade ... and yet a whole bunch of people are trying to build a future in which Miami will be known for tech innovation. This will take some years—but the signs are there and the community certainly is there (by the way, I haven’t seen you at these community meetups, so how would you know, right? By missing the meetup, you also miss the opportunity to add new data to your perception of Miami. For example, Pitch Perfect on Tuesday was held at City Hall and attended by over 150 people, including Gus, Michelle, and Carlos. Where were you?).

@Carlos—Not sure what the point of referring to that article is. It’s an excellent—and politically motivated—article that highlights 4 things the State needs to do to support the 5th thing they talk about, which is “tech community.” The 5th thing exists throughout Florida, from Jacksonville to Orlando to Tampa to Miami. The other 4 things the article points out are in the domain of policy making and infrastructure. The article is politically motivated because it highlights how little the new Governor is doing in any of these areas, and how in fact he has had a negative effect so far.

Regardless, we choose to celebrate positive achievements and our efforts are focused on creating new ones.

Posted on 04/29/2011 at 11:04 AM

Carlos Miller says:

The point was to simply add to the discussion. Nothing more and nothing less.

It is relevant to the discussion.

Posted on 04/29/2011 at 11:11 AM

Alex de Carvalho says:

@Carlos - you’re stirring up a controversy by highlighting a HuffPo blog post (are they really blogging for free at HuffPo?) that appears to paint a negative picture about Florida’s tech sector (even though the article is more about what States can do to develop a tech sector).

Here is another article that also appeared today—in the Miami Herald—this time with positive figures about Florida’s tech sector:

“Vibrant medical and technology sectors give Orlando bragging rights as economic development agencies across Florida try to supplement low-wage hospitality jobs with industries generating well-paying careers.”

“The high-tech workforce in Orlando is growing,’’ said Chris Lafakis, who follows Florida’s economy for Moody’s.

“South Florida boasts its own bio-medical hopes, most notably in the new Scripps research center in Palm Beach County, but also a University of Miami medical park under construction in the health district centered around Jackson Memorial.”

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/04/27/2191198/orlando-pulling-florida-out-of.html#ixzz1KvjT7SbU

So which is it for you, Carlos, glass half-empty or half-full?

Posted on 04/29/2011 at 11:35 AM

Carlos Miller says:

Oh geez, this is getting ridiculous. So you’re either with me or against me? Didn’t George Bush say something to that effect?

I came across the article on Twitter or Facebook, not even sure which one, and thought of this story.

if I would have come across the other story, I would have done the same.

Posted on 04/29/2011 at 12:27 PM

Seth Elliott says:

Here is a posting relevant to the discussion.

Posted on 04/29/2011 at 12:55 PM

Seth Elliott says:

And here is another relevant article to what is being discussed…

http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/04/07/2157468/new-miami-investor-group-plays.html

Posted on 04/30/2011 at 6:54 AM

Matt Meltzer says:

You know Alex, I am very much a half-emptier on all things in life. Some say that’s a bad way to go through life, but nobody would ever call me delusional or naive. And I’d rather be a negative dick than an optimistic moron.

Not calling you one, BTW, Alex. But some half-full-type people are that way.

Posted on 05/02/2011 at 7:26 PM

Seth Elliott says:

Glad that this thread doesn’t degenerate into name-calling and personal innuendo attacks like so many often do . . .

Posted on 05/02/2011 at 7:29 PM

Alex de Carvalho says:

Stay classy, Matt.

Posted on 05/03/2011 at 1:57 AM

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